Avian and Attributes – Faithful

Peregrine Falcon In Flight by Raymond Barlow

Peregrine Falcon In Flight by Raymond Barlow

“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;” (Deuteronomy 7:9 KJV)


Faithful

FA’ITHFUL, a.
1. Firm in adherence to the truth and to the duties of religion.
Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Rev 2.
2. Firmly adhering to duty; of true fidelity; loyal; true to allegiance; as a faithful subject.
3. constant in the performance of duties or services; exact in attending to commands; as a faithful servant.
4. Observant of compact, treaties, contracts, vows or other engagements; true to one’s word. A government should be faithful to its treaties; individuals, to their word.
5. True; exact; in conformity to the letter and spirit; as a faithful execution of a will.
6. True to the marriage covenant; as a faithful wife or husband.
7. Conformable to truth; as a faithful narrative or representation.
8. Constant; not fickle; as a faithful lover or friend.
9. True; worthy of belief. 2 Tim 2.


Peregrine Falcon

While its diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, the peregrine will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects. Reaching sexual maturity at one year, it mates for life and nests in a scrape, normally on cliff edges or, in recent times, on tall human-made structures. [italics added for emphasis]


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Birds whose last name start with “F”

Northern Raven and Peregrine Falcon: Two Birds Supporting the Manx Coat of Arms

Birds of the Bible – Peregrine Falcon and Goshawk

Peregrine Falcon

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[Definitions from Webster’s Dictionary of American English (1828), unless noted. Bird info from Wikipedia plus.]

Avian and Attributes – Everlasting

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by Ray Barlow

“Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.” (Psalms 93:2 KJV)


Everlasting

EVERL`ASTING, a. [ever and lasting.] Lasting or enduring for ever; eternal; existing or continuing without end; immortal.
The everlasting God, or Jehovah. Gen 21.
Everlasting fire; everlasting punishment. Mat 18:25.
1. Perpetual; continuing indefinitely, or during the present state of things.
I will give thee, and thy seed after thee, the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. Gen 17.
The everlasting hills or mountains. Genesis. Habakkuk.
2. In popular usage, endless; continual; unintermitted; as, the family is disturbed with everlasting disputes.
EVERL`ASTING, n. Eternity; eternal duration, past and future.
From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Psa 90.


Eagle is a common name for many large birds of prey of the family Accipitridae; it belongs to several groups of genera that are not necessarily closely related to each other.

Most of the 60 species of eagles are from Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just 14 species can be found – two in North America, nine in Central and South America, and three in Australia. Accipitridae Family


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Birds whose last name start with “E”

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[Definitions from Webster’s Dictionary of American English (1828), unless noted. Bird info from Wikipedia plus.]

Avian and Attributes – Deliverer

Noah taking the Dove back on board the Ark. (Ark Encounter by Lee)

“And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;” (2 Samuel 22:2 KJV)


Deliverer

DELIVERER, n.
1. One who delivers; one who releases or rescues; a preserver.
The Lord raised up a deliverer to Israel. Judges 30.
2. One who relates, or communicates.


The Dove are perching birds, which along with the pigeons belong to the taxonomic family Columbidae. They are perhaps best known as birds of gentle nature, but are also popular game birds. The symbolism of a white dove (though most “white doves” are actually white homing pigeons), has been used for peace, purity, and innocent love. Columbidae Family


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Birds whose last name start with “D”

(Dove – Creation Wiki)

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[Definitions from Webster’s Dictionary of American English (1828), unless noted.]

Mockingbirds: Versatile Voices in Plain Plumage

NorthernMockingbird-atop-pine.JimWedge-Audubon

NORTHERN  MOCKINGBIRD     ( photo: Jim Wedge / Audubon.org )

Mockingbirds: Versatile Voices in Plain Plumage

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.   (Ecclesiastes 10:20)

King Solomon warned us!  Some birds are like winged tape recorders, capable of imitating the speech of human voices, vocal calls of other birds, diverse sounds of construction equipment, and even the beeping noise of a clock alarm.  Parrots are so famous for repeating human speech that we use the word “parrot” as a metaphoric verb, for repeating what someone else says.

Mockingbird.RyanHagerty-USFWS
Northern Mockingbird   (photo credit: Ryan Hagerty / USF&WS)

The official state bird of Texas is a famous mimic, as its name suggests: MOCKINGBIRD.  (And, besides the special dignity of being the Lone Star State’s official songbird, the Northern Mockingbird is a special of Professor Ernie Carrasco!)

Despite its prosaic plumage, which combines only black, grey, and white (and thus misses out on all of the rainbow hues), the mundanely feathered Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottus) is nonetheless spectacular in its mimicry range of vocal versatility.  To illustrate, consider this report from Beth Clark, a Nevada resident, writing for BIRD & BLOOMS magazine:

‘BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP.’ My husband and I were participating in the Nevada Bird Count for the Great Basin Bird Observatory, when he started having problems with his new wristwatch timer. It kept beeping ahead of its programmed time.  I assumed [as many wives would have assumed, that] he just needed to read the instructions.  But after several frenzied attempts to fix the device, it turned out that a northern mockingbird was in the area.  The bird was perfectly imitating the sound and volume of the timer.

[Quoting Beth Clark, “Expert impersonators:  Sounds Aren’t Always What They Seem”, BIRDS & BLOOMS, April-May 2006 issue, page 49.]  Surely no one should be shocked to learn that a mockingbird is apt to “mock” sounds, as if it was a winged tape recorder.

Mockingbird-feeding-young.AmericanArtifacts

Mockingbird feeding nestling young  /  photo credit:  American Artifacts

Interestingly, it is only the male mockingbird that you should expect to hear during springtime or summer, as busy mockingbirds go about the business of nest-building, breeding, and taking care of their nestling young.  During autumn, however, both males and females sing their mimicking “songs” and sounds.  [See, accord, Donald Stokes, “Mockingbird”, A GUIDE TO BIRD BEHAVIOR, Volume I (Little, Brown & Company, 1979), page 187.]  Interestingly, mockingbird singing is influenced by the lunar cycle.

Northern Mockingbirds sing all through the day, and often into the night. Most nocturnal singers are unmated males, which sing more than mated males during the day, too. Nighttime singing is more common during the full moon. Northern Mockingbirds typically sing from February through August, and again from September to early November. A male may have two distinct repertoires of songs: one for spring and another for fall. The female Northern Mockingbird sings too, although usually more quietly than the male does. She rarely sings in the summer, and usually only when the male is away from the territory. She sings more in the fall, perhaps to establish a winter territory.

[Quoting Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “All About Birds” article on mockingbirds.

Of course, other birds have the same ability.

Northern mockingbirds, gray catbirds and the thrasher family are the most common mimics in North America. The mockingbird is the most accomplished mimic of the group [called Mimidae].  Its imitations are executed so precisely that scientific analysis often can’t distinguish between the imitation and the original.

Mockingbirds can replicate the calls of up to 32 bird species as well as the sounds of [large] animals and insects, and a wide array of human noises. You might even hear mimics imitating birds you’ve never heard of.  Once mimics learn a phrase, they’ll use it throughout the year.  So they easily pick up new bird songs from their wintering grounds [JJSJ note: some mockingbirds migrate, while other are year-round residents  — see range map below].  In New Jersey, someone once heard a gray catbird mimicking a brown-crested flycatcher [vocalization] that it likely picked up in Central America.

[Quoting Beth Clark, “Expert impersonators”, BIRDS & BLOOMS, April-May 2006 issue, page 49.]

Mockingbird-Rangemap.Wikipedia

Northern Mockingbird range map   (image credit: Wikipedia)
YELLOW:  breeding range;   GREEN:  year-round residence range
[NOTE CONTRA:  Cornell Lab of Ornithology indicates a year-round range for all the lower 48!]

Of course, it’s not just mockingbirds that mock the sounds of other creatures and non-living noises.

Brown thrashers … can learn human words and phrases, and sage thrashers imitate a variety of natural sounds. The European starling is a phenomenal mimic.  In addition to the human voice and other man-made sounds, it will reproduce the sound of a woodpecker drumming.  I once heard a caged European starling that spoke clearly and sang several radio jingles with perfect pitch.  Jays, crows, Carolina wrens, shrikes and vireos also mimic other bird species.

[Quoting Beth Clark, “Expert impersonators”, BIRDS & BLOOMS, April-May 2006 issue, page 49.]

BrownThrasher-GarlandTX-ManjithKainickara

Brown Thrasher in Texas   (photo credit; Manjith Kainickara)

But how do these avian mimics replicate the sounds of others? They have a special vocal organ called a “syrinx”, a word derived from the Greek word σύριγξ – referring to musical reeds (i.e., “pan pipes”), which is the same root for our English word “syringe” (a reed/straw-like tube, used in medicine).

Birds make sounds in a different way than humans do. People vocalize by passing air across the vocal chords.  Birds, however, make sounds using their syrinx.  Birds are the only animals that have a syrinx, which is located in the windpipe, close to the lungs.  The muscles surrounding the syrinx allow the birds to control the sounds, much the way changing tension on a violin string alters the pitch.  They control the volume by changing the air pressure in their lungs.  Generally, the birds with the most muscles around their syrinx are the most varied [i.e., most versatile] vocalists.  For instance, while pigeons have a single pair of muscles [around the syrinx], catbirds and crows have seven to nine pairs.  Most songbirds have about five pairs.  That explains how a northern mockingbird tricked my husband into thinking his timer was broken, but the bird’s amazing array of impersonations remains mind-boggling.

[Quoting Beth Clark, “Expert impersonators”, BIRDS & BLOOMS, April-May 2006 issue, page 49.]

Syrinx-BirdAnatomy.Wikipedia-diagram

Schematic drawing of an avian syrinx

from Wikipedia’s “Syrinx (bird anatomy)” article.

  1. last free cartilaginous tracheal ring
  2. tympanum
  3. first group of syringeal rings
  4. pessulus
  5. membrane tympaniformis lateralis
  6. membrane tympaniformis medialis
  7. second group of syringeal rings
  8. main bronchus
  9. bronchial cartilage

Mockingbird-eating-winterberries.JonesNaturePreserve

Mockingbird eating winterberries    (photo credit: Jones Nature Preserve)

How can you attract hungry mockingbirds?  Don’t worry; northern mockingbirds aren’t “fussy” eaters. As omnivores, they will eat what is available:  insects (especially during summer, when beetles, ants, wasps, bees, butterflies, and moths are the mockingbirds’ main diet), earthworms, berries and other fruits (especially apples), tomatoes, seeds, and even lizards.  Some have even reported mockingbirds sipping sap from trees recently pruned.   [See Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “All About Birds” article on mockingbirds, posted at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Mockingbird/lifehistory .]

Mockingbird-harasses-RedShoulderedHawk-Floridaform.AllCreationSings

Mockingbird harasses Red-shouldered Hawk (Florida form)  /  photo credit:  All Creation Sings

Once a mockingbird established its home territory, watch out! Mockingbirds will guard their claimed turf with vim and vigor.

It is hard for a behavior-watcher to think of mockingbirds and not also think of territoriality, for this is undoubtedly the most prominent aspect of this bird’s behavior. Not only are its territories small, sharply defined, and aggressively defended, but they are also formed twice a year – once in spring for breeding and again in fall to protect a winter food source.  Add to this the fact that [mockingbirds] are partial to living in urban [and suburban] areas, and you undoubtedly have the best of our common birds in which to observe territorial behavior.

[Quoting Donald Stokes, “Mockingbird”, A GUIDE TO BIRD BEHAVIOR, Volume I (Little, Brown & Company, 1979), page 187.]

So, enjoy the varied vocalizations of your neighborhood’s mockingbirds, but respect their territorial “turf”, because they are seriously committed to homeland security!

Mockingbird-attacks-RedTailedHawk-flickr.com-photo

Mockingbird attacks Red-tailed Hawk   (photo credit: flickr.com)


 

 

Avian and Attributes – Creator

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri) By Ian

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri) By Ian

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28 KJV)


Creator

CREATOR, n. [L.]
1. The being or person that creates.
Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. Eccl 12.
2. The thing that creates, produces or causes.


Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

With its soft-textured white and salmon-pink plumage and large, bright red and yellow crest, it is often described as the most beautiful of all cockatoos. It is named in honour of Major Sir Thomas Mitchell, who wrote, “Few birds more enliven the monotonous hues of the Australian forest than this beautiful species whose pink-coloured wings and flowing crest might have embellished the air of a more voluptuous region.” Cacatuidae Family


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Birds whose last name start with “C”

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo – Wikipedia

Parrot – Creation Wiki

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[Definitions from Webster’s Dictionary of American English (1828), unless noted. Bird info from Wikipedia plus.]

Airplane Fingers – Creation Moments

AIRPLANE FINGERS

” Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.'” Genesis 1:20

Aerodynamics, the science of flight, is a highly complex science. This is because many complex forces are acting on anything in flight. These forces include the power available for flight and drag produced by the flying object. Each of these categories include many additional forces that depend on the shape of the flying object, the shape and length of the wings, the speed and the altitude. This is why, for example, high altitude planes have very long wings.

Learjet 60 with winglets ©Myfreewallpapers

One critical force that has been under recent study is the turbulence that forms at the tips of the wings. The shorter the wing, the more energy consuming turbulence forms at the tip of the wing. Different wing designs have been tried to decrease this turbulence. Engineers have had some success reducing this turbulence with winglets. You may have seen these small vertical wings on the wingtips of some airplanes. Swiss researchers have been studying vultures with the hope of finding a better solution to this problem because vultures have a relatively short wing span that has proven to be surprisingly efficient. They discovered that this is because the feathers at the vultures’ wing tips spread out. They then tested a wing with a finger-like cascade of blades at the end.

Turkey Vulture in flight ©World Bird Sanctuary

Their new wing was more than four times more efficient than the average wing design in use today! It takes a great deal of faith in evolution to think that natural selection possesses such knowledge of aerodynamics. Clearly the vulture was designed by an intelligent Creator Who understands aerodynamics even better than we do!

Prayer:
I thank You, dear Father, that we can see Your wisdom in the creation. Amen.
Notes:
Wingfingers, Flying/January 1999, p.108. Photo: Learjet 60 with winglets. Courtesy of Adrian Pingstone. (PD)

©Creation Moments, with Permission, 2017

Wingtip Device – Wikipedia

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Avian and Attributes – Beautiful

Beautiful Firetail (Stagonopleura bella) M ©WikiC

“In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.” (Isaiah 4:2 KJV)


Beautiful

BEAU’TIFUL, a. bu’tiful. [beauty and full.]
1. Elegant in form, fair, having the form that pleases the eye. It expresses more than handsome.
2. Having the qualities which constitute beauty, or that which pleases the senses other than the sight; as a beautiful sound.


The beautiful firetail (Stagonopleura bella) is a common species of estrildid finch found in Australia. The species inhabits temperate shrubland habitats in Australia. The beautiful firetail mainly feeds on grass seed and Casuarina and Melaleuca seeds. Small insects and snails occasionally complement this herbivore diet. Estrildidae Family


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Beautiful Firetail – Wikipedia

Birds whose first name start with “B”

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[Definitions from Webster’s Dictionary of American English (1828), unless noted. Bird info from Wikipedia plus.]

Avian and Attributes – Almighty

American Avocet “Gone fishin” – photo by Ron Dudley

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalms 91:1 KJV)


Almighty

ALMI’GHTY, a. [all and mighty. See Might.]
Possessing all power; omnipotent; being of unlimited might; being of boundless sufficiency; appropriately applied to the Supreme Being.
ALMI’GHTY, n. The Omnipotent God.


Avocets have long legs and they sweep their long, thin, upcurved bills from side to side when feeding in the brackish or saline wetlands they prefer. The plumage is pied, sometimes also with some red. Members of this genus have webbed feet and readily swim. Their diet consists of aquatic insects and other small creatures. Recurvirostridae Family


“A” is for Avocet and Albatross: “A” Birds, Part 1

Birds Vol 2 #1 – The American Avocet

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Today is the beginning of a new series for Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures. A good friend of mine, Rhonda Sawtelle, (Create a Positive Day), has been posting every day on her Facebook a different attribute of our Lord God. She has been going through them alphabetically. What if each day, we had a different attribute and a bird that starts with that same letter. My challenge is to try to at least get through the alphabet at least once. Maybe several rounds. Stay tuned!

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Birds whose last name start with “A”

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[Definitions from Webster’s Dictionary of American English (1828), unless noted. Bird info from Wikipedia plus.]

Lee’s Seven Word Sunday – 8/13/17

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Grackles Ready to Depart at Brinson Park Pier by Lee

IT SHALL NOT RETURN

UNTO ME VOID

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“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11 KJV)

Grackles Ready to Depart at Brinson Park Pier by Lee

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Look for a new series to begin tomorrow. This series is going to take a rest for a while. We began the Daily Devotionals in January of 2016.

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Lee’s Six Word Saturday – 8/12/17

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FOR IN SIX DAYS THE LORD

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For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:11 KJV)

Mixed Flocks of Birds by the Creative Hand of the Lord

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Shorebirds Looney about Horseshoe Crab Eggs

RedKnot-DelawareBay-beach.GregoryBreese-USFWS

Red Knot Eating Crab Eggs at Delaware Bay Beach

Photo by Gregory Breese / USF&WS

Thankfully, the rhythms of our world are fairly predictable. Although the details differ, the overall cycles are regular:

While the earth remains, seedtimes and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)

Because of these recurring patterns migratory birds can depend on food being conveniently available when they migrate northward in the spring. In effect,  “fast food” on the beach is a “convenience store” for famished feathered fliers.

For example, consider how the annual egg-laying (and egg-burying) activities of horseshoe crabs perfectly synchronize with the hunger of migratory shorebirds (e.g., red knots, turnstones, and sandpipers) that stopover on bayside beaches, for “fast food”, right where huge piles of crab eggs have just been deposited (and where some have been uncovered by tidewaters).

HorseshoeCrabs-DelawareBay-beach.GregoryBreese-USFWS

Horseshoe Crabs on Delaware Bay Beach

Photo by Gregory Breese / USF&WS

No need to worry about the birds eating too many crab eggs! – the egg-laying is so prolific (i.e., about 100,000 eggs per mother) that many horseshoe crab eggs are missed by the migratory birds, thus becoming the next generation of horseshoe crabs, plus the birds mostly eat the prematurely  surfacing eggs that are less likely to succeed in life anyway!)

Timing is everything. Each spring, shorebirds migrate from wintering grounds in South America to breeding grounds in the Arctic. These birds have some of the longest migrations known. Delaware Bay is the prime stopover site and the birds’ stop coincides with horseshoe crab spawning. Shorebirds like the red knot, ruddy turnstone and semipalmated sandpiper, as well as many others, rely on horseshoe crab eggs to replenish their energy reserves before heading to their Arctic nesting grounds.  The birds arrive in the Arctic before insects emerge. This means that they must leave Delaware Bay with enough energy reserves to make the trip to the Arctic and survive without food until well after they have laid their eggs. If they have not accumulated enough fat reserves at the bay, they may not be able to breed.

The world’s largest spawning population of horseshoe crabs occurs in Delaware Bay. During high tide, horseshoe crabs migrate from deep water to beaches to spawn. The female digs a nest in the sand and deposits between 4,000 and 30,000 eggs that the male will fertilize with sperm. A single crab may lay 100,000 eggs or more during a season. Horseshoe crab spawning begins in late April and runs through mid-August, although peak spawning in the mid-Atlantic takes place May 1 through the first week of June.

At low tide, adult crabs go back into the water but may return at the next high tide. Horseshoe crab spawning increases on nights with a full or new moon, when gravity is stronger and high tides are even higher. At the same time that migrating shorebirds arrive to rest and feed along Delaware Bay, horseshoe crab activity is high. While the crab buries its eggs deeper than shorebirds can reach, waves and other horseshoe crabs expose large numbers of eggs. These surface eggs will not survive, but they provide food for many animals. The shorebirds can easily feed on eggs that have surfaced prematurely.

Quoting Kathy Reshetiloff, “Migratory Birds Shore Up Appetites on Horseshoe Crab Eggs”, THE CHESAPEAKE BAY JOURNAL, 27(3):40 (May 2017).

Shorebirds-HorseshoeCrabs-DelawareBay.LarryNiles

Shorebirds and Horseshoe Crabs on Delaware Bay Beach

Photo by Larry Niles

Notice how it is the gravitational pull of the moon, as the moon goes through its periodic cycle, that causes the high and low tides – which facilitate the uncovering of enough horseshoe crab eggs to satisfy the needs of the migratory stopover shorebirds that pass through Delaware Bay.  Notice how the moon provides a phenological “regulation” (i.e., the moon is physically ruling and correlating the interaction of the horseshoe crabs, the migratory shorebirds, and the bay’s tidewaters – in accordance with and illustrating Genesis 1:16-18).

At low tide, adult crabs go back into the water but may return at the next high tide. Horseshoe crab spawning increases on nights with a full or new moon, when gravity is stronger and high tides are even higher. At the same time that migrating shorebirds arrive to rest and feed along Delaware Bay, horseshoe crab activity is high.

Again quoting Kathy Reshetiloff, “Migratory Birds Shore Up Appetites on Horseshoe Crab Eggs”, THE CHESAPEAKE BAY JOURNAL, 27(3):40 (May 2017).

RedKnot-MigrationMap.NatureConservancy
Map of Red Knot Winter Ranges, Summer Breeding Range, & Migratory Stopovers
Map by The Nature Conservancy, adapted from USF&WS map

So, you might say that these reproducing Horseshoe Crabs, and the myriads of migratory shorebirds, share phenological calendars because they’re all looney.

RedKnot-onshore.NatureConservancy-MJKilpatrick

Red Knot on Beach, during Migratory Stopover
photo by The Nature Conservancy / M J Kilpatrick